Mehnatshe Kemho Banana

Ark of taste
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Mehnatshe Kemho Banana

Mehnatshe Kemho is a local banana variety found in parts of Nagaland in northeastern India. In this area, this variety has long been propagated with local seeds. The banana is unique for its large size. The fruit is greenish-yellow in color and has a distinctive, sweet taste. Historically, local communities would consume Mehnatshe Kembo by placing the banana on hot ashes and cooking them for 30 minutes before eating. Other typical ways of consuming this fruit include peeling off the skin and ponding the flesh with a large wooden mortar and pestle usually used for pounding rice. The crushed banana can then be mixed with rice and vegetables.  

Mehnatshe Kemho has a long and deep-rooted attachment to the land and its people. Locally, this banana serves as an alternative to other staple crops such as rice, corn and millet. As it served as a local form of food security, people have long cherished the banana and have also used its leaves for various purposes that include culture specific traditions and festivals. The leaves were also made into makeshift portable plates for farmers to carry their meals into the forest. The Mehnatshe Kemho banana is grown in the shifting cultivation fields of Chizami Village in the Phek District of Nagaland. It has also been observed growing wild in pockets within the state of Nagaland. It is mainly harvested for family use, and can very rarely be found for sale at the local markets.  

In recent years, production of Mehnatshe Kemho bananas has been replaced with another variety, the Leptini Monoche (meaning “hills variety”). This second variety has largely been promoted by government and other programs, as it is a more productive variety, despite the fact that the Mehnatshe Kembo has a long cultural connection to the land and local communities. 

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Other info


Fruit, nuts and fruit preserves

Indigenous community:Naga